Monday, August 16, 2010

Children and parents' mental health - not just a one-way process

Most psychological research concentrates on parents' effects on their children but of course things can work the other way around too. New research from Purdue University in Indiana has backed up the old adage that parents never stop worrying about their children and also suggests that this worry may have a significant effect on parents' mental health. The researchers asked 633 middle-aged parents in the Philadelphia area to rate each of their grown-up children's achievements in the areas of relationships, family life, education and their careers compared to other adults of the same age. Most of the parents had more than one child so there were a total of 1,251 adult children involved in the study. 68% of the parents had at least one grown child suffering from at least one physical, emotional or behavioural problem over the last two years. 49% of the parents said they had at least one highly-successful child while 60% said they had a mixture of successful and less-successful children. 17% had children who had had no problems over the last two years but 15% said that they had no children they rated as above average. Parents who had more than one highly-successful child reported better well-being but having a 'problematic' child had a negative impact on parents' mental health even if all their other children were successful. However, having 'only' one successful child was not associated with better wellbeing.

You can find out more about this research by clicking on the title of this post.

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